Missing the Mark – What Big Brands Do Differently
As a social media marketing firm, we’ve seen a lot of different approaches to engaging with clients. We’ve also learned a few things along the way but perhaps the most important lesson is that big business concerns do things different. While it might seem obvious that small business owners can’t compete with multi-million dollar television commercials or nationwide print campaigns, it’s not always the dollar amount that matters most. In fact, research shows that one reason big brands become so large is they always did things a bit different; in short, they stood out from the competition and became memorable which allowed them to grow into the mega brands we all know and (usually) love.
When it comes to social media marketing, the differences between big brand practices and small business strategies becomes even more apparent. Social media is a fantastic equalizer which allows nearly anyone to compete head-to-head with an industry giant or just the main competitor down the road. While many might not be surprised to see a nationwide brand like “Old Spice” churn out a viral video campaign, the overnight sensation of Teddy the Porcupine demonstrates it’s possible for anyone (and nearly anything…including overly cute porcupines) to gain immense exposure for a fraction of the cost. The key resides in doing things a bit different.
What You’re Doing Wrong!
Okay, fair enough but what do small business owners do wrong? Sadly…quite a bit. Let’s take a look at Facebook since it’s the largest social media site in the world. Research demonstrates quite a gap between what brands post versus what pages post and it’s those variations which make all the difference. (For those that aren’t as up-to-date on the difference between Facebook profiles, pages and groups be sure to reference our prior article on the subject).
Status Updates – Status updates are more or less equally used by both big brands and small business owners alike but with the difference that big brands tend to use pictures and video to enhance their updates while small business owners simply post an update without any additional prop’s. Keep reading to learn the importance this seemingly small difference really makes in a successful social media marketing campaign.
Links – Small business owners tend to use a lot of links…in fact, links are the majority of their social media marketing presence. It’s a recipe for disaster. When compared to other options, links were the absolute least effective in building brand awareness and client engagement. There are several reasons behind this trend including the lack of perceived originality, re-directing client attention to another site or source of information and plain old boredom…remember, if you are reading it then chances are others have already seen it (repeatedly). What about big brands? They tend to use very few links and usually direct viewers to a special discount, partnership offer or other campaign. What’s the lesson on links? Use sporadically to create a unique incentive offer or other collaboration while avoiding the temptation of re-circulating less than original content.
Photo’s – Without a doubt, photographs make a tremendous difference. As a social media marketing firm, you might have wondered why we consistently cover the importance of photographs on the new timeline, profile pages and even posted messages…simple, it’s because photographs matter! It’s not merely our opinion; research has consistently demonstrated that people are more likely to pay attention to photographs, spend more time interacting with content accompanied by a photograph and simply see it in the first place. Pure and simple; great pictures are one of the most important things you can do to help increase exposure on social media sites like Facebook. In fact, one of the key success factors of the exponential growth associated with Pinterest is the use of photographs! Additionally, pictures don’t have to cost a lot thanks to digital cameras and stock photo sites. It certainly sounds like a no-brainer and in fact, brands consistent use photographs to their benefit. Big, bold, beautiful photographs that capture attention and demand recognition. And small business owners? You guessed it…they tend to upload a photograph once in awhile or re-use the same old ones over and over and over again actually creating a negative experience for viewers. Ouch! So, what’s the bottom line when it comes to photographs? Research shows pictures are 5x more effective than links.
Video – YouTube is among the most popular social media video sites but nearly any form of video is likely to engage an audience and big brands know this well. Increasingly viewed as a form of online advertising, educating and entertainment, video is yet another key difference between big brands and small business. Big brands love video especially when combined with social media; it’s relatively inexpensive yet able to reach literally millions of viewers yet small business owners tend to overlook video to their detriment. In fact, video is one of the most ignored methods utilized by small business yet one of the most sought after features cited by clients. Why the disconnect? Few small business owners have the equipment or comfort zone associated with creating a video; others believe it must be expensive to get great results. Of course, outsourcing solves all of the above problems by allowing professionals to handle the task from start to finish and actually contain the cost since there isn’t any need to invest in expensive equipment, script-writing etc. Not convinced? Research shows that video’s are 10x more effective than links resulting in more sharing, longer interaction and higher response rates.